A nice “get” by Bob Owens. There were rumors all day long that the Army is preparing to formally pronounce Beauchamp a liar, first from Matt Sanchez and then from Michael Goldfarb, who was told by a source to “stand by for a statement about to come from the Army saying their review of Beauchamp’s story shows it to be a combination of complete fabrication and wild exaggeration.” That last bit hints at something much more specific than what Bob got but the gist is the same.
TNR claims to have corroborated the various elements of Beauchamp’s story with five different members of his company, four of whom had firsthand knowledge of the incidents. The statement Bob got suggests (but doesn’t quite explicitly say) that every last man in the company was interviewed and, to quote the spokesman, “no one could substantiate [Beauchamp’s] claims.” Assuming both Foer and the spokesman are telling the truth, five guys in the squad are lying to someone. They all have a motive to tell the Army the incidents never happened given the trouble they’d be in for not reporting them at the time; assuming they’re all friends of Beauchamp and want to protect him from a career-destroying mistake, they also all have a motive to tell TNR that the incidents happened the way he said. (Although if they’re lying to TNR, why then dispute the location of burned woman incident? Why not just corroborate him on that detail too? Maybe because there are too many people at FOB Falcon who could disprove it?)
Unless the Army comes up with compelling evidence disproving his story it’s going to end up as the military version of a he said/she said where each side simply believes whom they’d prefer ideologically to believe and leaves it at that. Let’s hope what they’ve got is as specific as Goldfarb’s quote implies.
Update: Michael Goldfarb e-mails to say that Col. Boylan — the spokesman who e-mailed Bob Owens — is also the person he’s been waiting on for the hopefully more specific to come about the Army’s findings re: Beauchamp. Goldfarb’s wondering now if there is any more specific statement in the works or if Boylan’s e-mail to Bob is all we’re going to get.
Here’s Goldfarb’s take on the significance of what Boylan had to say.